Forrest Briggs claims the South as his home, and indeed he grew up and attended college there. As a photography student, he earned admission into several galleries and juried exhibitions, but his post graduate work honed his eye. He travelled the world, learning to speak fluent Vietnamese and becoming trapped in Nepal during the 2006 coup d’état, all the while documenting his journeys through his camera. The temporary expatriation sharpened his skills, helping him excel at photographic composition, natural lighting strategies, and more abstract concepts such as how to make photos “pop.”
Now, as a photographer and teacher, he passes along these lessons to a new generation of shutterbugs, while lending his eye and skill to clients in search of classic portraiture and boudoir shoots. He also has an eye for shooting martial arts action, working behind the scenes at mixed martial arts events and even pulling a stint as the personal photographer of Cheryl Murphy, nine-time US Nationals Karate Champion.
Gangs of ottomans and mattresses populate Atlantic Bedding and Furniture, whose continually changing designs from Coaster, Forbidden City, Harden, Sealy, Old Town Imports, and other top brands help customers to capture the furniture species of their choice. Treat hard-working eye awnings to a decadent break with a solid hardwood Leonardo bed backed by a strong, modern headboard covered with tufted upholstery that boasts the color of morning cappuccino but the flavor of tufted upholstery ($347 for a queen; $516 for a king). Taking home a Davenport nightstand means never having to precariously perch glasses or bequeathed dentures on thin windowsills ($125). Home-office workers can perch glowing Internet portals atop a classic table desk, creating an imposing pedestal that distracts interning offspring from their demands for a salary ($400).
The Junior League of Greenville, a women’s organization aimed at empowering communities and promoting voluntarism, has been the driving force behind Nearly New Shop for 60 years. Volunteer staff members carefully sift through donations and select the most upscale of gently used items before gussying up racks with the chosen cardigans, shoes, and powdered wigs. In turn, their work earns funds for Junior League of Greenville’s slew of community projects, which range from youth nutrition programs to volunteer service days.
Country Boy's Garden Center, equipping green thumbs with gardening supplies for more than 25 years, commemorates the fall season with an autumnal collection of outdoor and indoor foliage, largely sourced from local growers within a 60-mile radius. Gardeners can complement gushing lawn fountains and pools filled with pirate treasure by planting 8-inch ($6.59–$6.99) and 12-inch ($17.99–$19.99) chrysanthemums, which bloom for six to eight weeks during both fall and spring and infuse flower beds with seasonal colors such as red, pink, and lavender. Eyes comb through more than 70 varieties of pansies, including pansy packs ($2.59) and the aptly named Plentifall pansies ($2.99) that spread up to 18 inches. Meanwhile, the orange hue of pumpkins ($0.49/lb.) sparks memories of jack-o'-lantern carving, and a year-round Christmas shop unveils luminous holiday trees, nativity scenes, and poinsettias. Knowledgeable staffers sprout out of their pots to help visitors navigate through all the greenhouse's shelves and colorful hanging baskets. Before visiting the store, customers can browse the garden center's online plant-care guide for tips on picking colors and prepping soil for its new tenants.
Kelly Ballentine Colacioppo is a third generation appliance salesperson. Her father owns a restaurant equipment store, so it’s fitting that her store, The Cook's Station, outfits home kitchens with professional-quality equipment. The selection of top brands includes GE Profile, Bosch, and BlueStar, whose 22,000-BTU gas ranges feature extra-large ovens and custom-configured burners modeled after those found in professional kitchens. Cookware from the Culinary Institute of America’s Masters Collection is designed by certified master chefs, and bakeware from Nordic Ware aims to create the perfect bundt cake. Unique gift collections from Nora Fleming, Beatriz Ball, and Casafina are also available. For those starting completely from scratch, the staff includes a licensed kitchen designer, a licensed contractor, and diagrams that illustrate the differences between forks and spoons.
However, The Cook's Station is not just about prepping kitchens—it’s also about prepping the people who use them. A full calendar of foodie events includes cooking and equipment demos, and an online cache of recipes gives chefs new meals to experiment with. Monthly Uncorked events explore wine and tapas pairings, and a knife sharpening service ensures blades are always ready to slice up veggies or that frustratingly impossible soufflé recipe.